Local landscape architect wins two design awards
Ryan Summerlin December 31, 2011
VAIL – The Colorado chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects has announced that longtime local landscape architect Sherry Dorward has won two awards for design excellence for projects she has completed in the valley. She was honored for her design of the Vail Memorial Park in East Vail and for the master planning and site design of Walking Mountains Science Center in Avon. The new five-acre campus of Walking Mountains Science Center opened to the public last August after nearly five years of planning and design. Both the campus layout and the landscape design express the school’s deep commitment to environmental education and stewardship. Within the confines of significant site constraints that rendered all but three-quarters of an acre of the site unbuildable, Dorward’s master plan was honored for sensitively integrating the 16,500-square-foot building program with circulation and parking, interpretive trails, outdoor classrooms, an amphitheater and nature play areas. Numerous sustainable strategies were incorporated into the landscape design – including green roofs, pervious paving, revegetation exclusively with native plants, and bio-filtering of stormwater – in order to protect extensive existing wetlands on the site, assure successful establishment of new wetlands, maintain water quality and significantly reduce irrigation water usage. These measures are key to attaining the highest level of LEED certification.The project was a collaborative effort by a largely local multi-disciplinary design team that included Brian Sipes at Zehren & Associates as project architect (with Seattle-based Mithun as design architects), civil engineer JK & Associates, mechanical engineers Beaudin Ganze, structural engineers Monroe & Newell, Slifer Design on interiors, and general contractor R.A. Nelson.Vail Memorial Park was dedicated in 2004 and expanded in 2008. Accessed only by the town of Vail recreation path near the east Vail I-70 exit, the park is intended as a secluded place where residents and visitors can hold intimate memorial services, bury or scatter cremation remains, and inscribe memorials to loved ones. Memorials are inscribed on rugged sandstone walls built by Gallegos Masonry and on natural boulders and stone benches. The park is fast becoming a repository for community memory and history, as more than 150 people have already have selected memorial stones in the park.Sherry Dorward has been a landscape architect in Vail since 1989. Since founding her own office in 2002, she has been responsible for the landscape design of many other public projects, including all the Eagle County libraries, the Gypsum Recreation Center, June Creek Elementary School, and the Eagle-Vail community pool. She was part of the design team for the Vail Village streetscape redevelopment and has completed many residential commissions.